The Evidence Against Hillary Clinton Is Growing.

Editor’s Note – Benghazi update. The FBI’s probe has now expanded to include another Hillary Clinton private server.

Fresh evidence keeps sinking Hillary Clinton’s email defense

Hillary Clinton’s “there’s no evidence of that” line of defense over her email mess continues to crumble in the face of . . . new evidence.

For all her talk of how using a private email account for her work running the State Department was just fine, it’s now plain she left top-secret information vulnerable to hackers.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to questions during a campaign stop ,Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to questions during a campaign stop ,Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

More evidence is likely to come out. The FBI’s probe has now expanded to include another private server she used, a backup service with Connecticut-based Datto Inc.

And now the Associated Press has confirmed that her main server was the target of repeated cyberattacks from China, South Korea and Germany. And those came after she left office, when her team belatedly agreed to use some threat-monitoring software.

In other news, a FOIA request from the watchdog group Citizens United has uncovered the fact that Hill’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, was forwarding classified info to the Clinton Foundation — so staff there could support Bill Clinton’s work in Africa.

Add to this new details about Hillary’s emails with longtime aide Sidney Blumenthal — emails that somehow didn’t make it into the data she finally handed over once word broke that she’d failed to share her work product with the government.

Her extensive communications with him include the naming of a CIA source (obviously classified) as he pushed for action in Libya — action that would benefit his clients.

“It is curious Secretary Clinton took so much of her advice from someone who had never been to Libya, professed no independent knowledge of the country and who the White House blocked her from hiring,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who heads the select committee trying to finally get to the full facts on the deadly Benghazi attack.

Curious? Hey, in Clintonworld, blending policy with pocket-lining is routine — national security be damned.

 

Brennan on CIA – Refutes Report Conclusions, Definitions

Editor’s Note – John Brennan, CIA director had to take to the interview stage thanks to the furor raised over the release of the Senate Select Committee’s one-sided report on the CIA as presented by Chairwoman Diane Feinstein.

It was unprecedented and very rare indeed, but that is the level to which this explosive story had risen and he had to defend his agency and its work force.

What is torture? Why weren’t people at the CIA interviewed? What was the state of our security when the enhanced interrogation techniques were used?

Was any information from these interrogations useful? What is the damage now that the report was made public by Diane Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence?

Is this what you think was used at Guantanamo or at 'black' sites?
Is this what you think was used at Guantanamo or at ‘black’ sites?

These questions and more faced John Brennan, and therefore all of America and our allies, even our enemies. Then we have to consider the state of morale in the CIA and the intelligence community overall?

In addition, what will foreign nations’ intelligence and law enforcement services think, and how will they work with us in the future? These were some of the other question he faced from the press.

Ask yourself, do you really understand how the “trade craft” of the CIA really works? Throw out your Hollywood images and James Bond.

Also consider that only documents were used to create the report – all sans context, frame of mind, and interviews.

No court or self-respecting prosecutor in the land would ever enter this type of so-called evidence into a trial for a jury to decide but Diane Feinstein demands that you, the real jury, consider only her and the Democrats take on the issue.

In our opinion, we watched and came to the conclusion that Brennan comported himself rather well.

He acknowledged failures and mistakes while refuting implausible conclusions and the damage they have caused.

For a good summary on these questions and the speech/interview, please read on:

CIA chief challenges Senate torture report

By KEN DILANIAN – Associated Press/Washington Times

WASHINGTON (AP) – CIA Director John Brennan threaded a rhetorical needle in an unprecedented televised news conference at CIA headquarters Thursday, acknowledging that agency officers did “abhorrent” things to detainees but defending the overall post-9/11 interrogation program for stopping attacks and saving lives.

At the heart of Brennan’s case is a finely tuned argument: that while today’s CIA takes no position on whether the brutal interrogation tactics themselves led detainees to cooperate, there is no doubt that detainees subjected to the treatment offered “useful and valuable” information afterward.

BrennanInterview

Speaking to reporters and on live television- something no one on the CIA public affairs staff could remember ever happening on the secretive agency’s Virginia campus -Brennan said it was “unknown and unknowable” whether the harsh treatment yielded crucial intelligence that could have been gained in any other way.

He declined to define the techniques as torture, as President Barack Obama and the Senate intelligence committee have done, refraining from even using the word in his 40 minutes of remarks and answers. Obama banned torture when he took office.

He also appeared to draw a distinction between interrogation methods, such as water boarding, that were approved by the Justice Department at the time, and those that were not, including “rectal feeding,” death threats and beatings. He did not discuss the techniques by name.

“I certainly agree that there were times when CIA officers exceeded the policy guidance that was given and the authorized techniques that were approved and determined to be lawful,” he said. “They went outside of the bounds. … I will leave to others to how they might want to label those activities. But for me, it was something that is certainly regrettable.”

But Brennan defended the overall detention of 119 detainees as having produced valuable intelligence that, among other things, helped the CIA find and kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

A 500-page Senate intelligence committee report released Tuesday exhaustively cites CIA records to dispute that contention.

The report points out that the CIA justified the torture – what the report called an extraordinary departure from American practices and values – as necessary to produce unique and otherwise unobtainable intelligence. Those are not terms Brennan used Thursday to describe the intelligence derived from the program.

The report makes clear that agency officials for years told the White House, the Justice Department and Congress that the techniques themselves had elicited crucial information that thwarted dangerous plots.

Yet the report argues that torture failed to produce intelligence that the CIA couldn’t have obtained, or didn’t already have, elsewhere.

Although the harshest interrogations were carried out in 2002 and 2003, the program continued until December 2007, Brennan acknowledged. All told, 39 detainees were subject to very harsh measures.

Former CIA Directors Haydeon, Tenet, Goss, and Morell
Former CIA Directors Haydon, Tenet, Goss, and Morell refute the report as well.

Former President George H. W. Bush, CIA director in 1976-77, supported the agency.

“I felt compelled to reiterate my confidence in the agency today, and to thank those throughout its ranks for their ongoing and vitally important work to keep America safe and secure,” Bush said in a statement.

Former CIA officials, including George Tenet, who signed off on the interrogations as director, have argued in recent days that the techniques themselves were effective and justified.

Brennan’s more nuanced position puts him in harmony with an anti-torture White House while attempting to mollify the many CIA officers involved in the program who still work for him.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the intelligence committee chairman whose staff wrote the report, conducted a live-tweeting point-by-point rebuttal of Brennan’s news conference, at one point saying that Brennan’s stance was inconsistent with the original justification for the brutal interrogations.

“EIT authority (was) based on vital, otherwise unavailable intel,” she tweeted during Brennan’s remarks. “Not ‘useful information.'”

At the CIA, Brennan spoke next to the stars engraved on a marble wall to memorialize fallen officers. He criticized the Senate investigation, saying, for example, it was “lamentable” that the committee interviewed no CIA personnel to ask, “What were you thinking?”

Seeking to put the controversy in context, Brennan stressed that the CIA after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was in “uncharted territory,” having been handed vast new authorities by a president determined to thwart the next al-Qaida attack.

“We were not prepared,” said Brennan, who was deputy CIA executive officer at the time. “We had little experience housing detainees, and precious few of our officers were trained interrogators.”

In starker terms than CIA officials have used previously, Brennan, a career CIA analyst, acknowledged mistakes when the agency took captured al-Qaida operatives to secret prisons and began using brutal methods in an effort to break them.

“In a limited number of cases, agency officers used interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent and rightly should be repudiated by all,” he said. “And we fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes.”

But he also said, “The overwhelming majority of officers involved in the program at CIA carried out their responsibilities faithfully. … They did what they were asked to do in the service of our nation.”

Brennan denied that the CIA intentionally misled lawmakers.

“We take exceptional pride in providing truth to power,” he said pointedly, “whether that power agrees with what we say or not and regardless of political party.”

He praised the CIA’s work to prevent terrorism on U.S. soil, and the fact that CIA officers were the first to fight and early to die in the Afghanistan war. The CIA, he said, “did a lot of things right” in a time when there were “no easy answers.”

Brennan said that while he personally believes brutal interrogations result in too much false information, he would not rule out that such tactics being used again.

“We are not contemplating at all getting back into the detention program using any of those EITs,” he said when asked whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” could again be employed. “So I defer to the policymakers in future times when there is going to be the need to be able to ensure that this country stays safe if we face a similar type of crisis.”

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Associated Press writers Calvin Woodward and Nancy Benac contributed to this report.

Feinstein’s Acrimony for the CIA Revealed

By Denise Simon and Scott W. Winchell

On Tuesday, December 9, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Majority leader for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), stood on the Senate floor for almost an hour and delivered a chilling verbal summary of the $40 million dollar investigation into the CIA Torture Report.

She spoke in a measured and assertive tone naming names all the way through. My bet is she delivered this performance for the sake of setting the table to close Guantanamo immediately out of establishing sympathy for detained combatants.FeinsteinSpeechScreenCap

Further, Feinstein put every American in peril, wherever they travel internationally, or are part of the foreign service, or our very own troops.

She has aided and delivered comfort to the enemy as her 500 page summary report has been publicly published for all enemies to read. The summary report also explains sources, methods and locations.

What is worse, several countries friendly to America are formally exposed and will likely hesitate and filter cooperation with U.S. intelligence.

We cannot know the future damage, but the threat assessments have risen dramatically as all foreign U.S. military bases are presently on higher alert and some embassies are in fact closed for an undetermined period of time.

Feinstein denied all evidence that the CIA program saved lives, or stopped terror plots and led us to other terrorists in the global network. But how does this jive perhaps with the fact that over the weekend, Pakistani forces killed the man who was believed to be al-Qaeda’s top operational commander, Adnan el Shukrijumah — a terrorist who was identified thanks to the CIA’s interrogation of two senior al-Qaeda operatives.

A Pakistani man holds a match box with picture of Adnan Shukrijumah who is wanted in connection with possible terrorist threat attacks against the US, in Peshawar, 15 July 2006.  The US government has announced a 25 million USD reward for information leading to the capture of Shukrijumah in their Rewards for Justice Program. AFP PHOTO/ Tariq MAHMOOD
A Pakistani man holds a match box with picture of Adnan Shukrijumah  – AFP PHOTO/ Tariq MAHMOOD

The enhanced interrogation program was terminated several years ago, when in fact it began under the Clinton administration and several measures were passed to ensure they were never applied them again.

For Feinstein to say her only motivation was to ensure this never happened again, is misguided at best and violates OPSEC.

What is worse, the DOJ said they will not prosecute any participants of the program but the United Nations is saying otherwise. That places many contractors and CIA operatives in jeopardy of being bought up on charges under international law.

This matter is by far from over, as we have people in media that are outing names of countries that cooperated and they are posting names of CIA operatives that had a hand in the program.

Feinstein crossed the Rubicon and in the wake of destruction, damage, injury, or loss of life may still yet to be realized. Presently, the Taliban and al Qaeda factions are calling for an increase in attacks of the West already because of this speech and report.

We will never know exactly how many more, but it is certain that more people will be radicalized than she and others thought Guantanamo Bay lured into radicalization.

As a last note, this CIA Torture Report is highly partisan – no former or still active CIA operative were interviewed during this process nor was the top lawyer at CIA, John Rizzo interviewed. Rizzo formally asked to be interviewed and was denied and he then formally asked for a copy of the report and was denied.

If you think that George Soros did not have a hand in the Feinstein investigation, you need to think again. Feinstein, in her last act as Chairmen of the SSCI, had no support from the Republicans on her committee and it is clear she did this out of spite because of her well documented hatred for the CIA. Since that speech, many have responded, and most are none-to-pleased, especially our CIA and its former leadership.

The former deputy director of the CIA is ripping the torture report released by Democrats on Tuesday, calling it “deeply flawed.”

“Many of its main conclusions are simply not correct,” Mike Morell, who is a CBS News contributor, told “CBS Evening News.” “And much of the context of the times and much of the discussion that took place inside the executive branch and with the Congress about this program is not in this report.”

Former CIA Directors Haydeon, Tenet, Goss, and Morell
Former CIA Directors Hayden, Tenet, Goss, and Morell

In addition to Mike Morell, the Wall Street Journal posted a responses from his predecessors:

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released its majority report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation in the wake of 9/11. The following response is from former CIA Directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss and Michael V. Hayden (a retired Air Force general), and former CIA Deputy Directors John E. McLaughlin, Albert M. Calland (a retired Navy vice admiral) and Stephen R. Kappes :

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation of terrorists, prepared only by the Democratic majority staff, is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question. The committee has given us instead a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation—essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks.

Examining how the CIA handled these matters is an important subject of continuing relevance to a nation still at war. In no way would we claim that we did everything perfectly, especially in the emergency and often-chaotic circumstances we confronted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. As in all wars, there were undoubtedly things in our program that should not have happened. When we learned of them, we reported such instances to the CIA inspector general or the Justice Department and sought to take corrective action.Guantanamo-Bay_KG4EM1

The country and the CIA would have benefited from a more balanced study of these programs and a corresponding set of recommendations. The committee’s report is not that study. It offers not a single recommendation.

Our view on this is shared by the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Republican minority, both of which are releasing rebuttals to the majority’s report. Both critiques are clear-eyed, fact-based assessments that challenge the majority’s contentions in a nonpartisan way.

What is wrong with the committee’s report? (Read the rest here.)

Jose Rodriguez, the agent who ran the rendition/interrogation program had his own response to Feinstein:

WASHINGTON – The Central Intelligence Agency officer who headed the agency’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program calls a damning Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation activities a “totally egregious falsehood.”

Jose Rodriguez, former director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told WTOP in an exclusive interview, “For those of us who were there, who read the reporting coming out of our black sites and who acted upon that intelligence, the conclusions by the SSCI report that the program brought no value, and the CIA mislead the Congress is astounding.”

The committee, in a scathing, 600-page summary of a five-year, $40 million investigation into the now defunct Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program, says the agency of misled Congress about a program that essentially brought no value to U.S. efforts to track down the al-Qaida operatives responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The program included waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other techniques that have been classified as torture.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed after capture
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed after capture

The Senate Committee report cited several key findings:

  • The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” were not effective.
  • The CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to policymakers and the public.
  • The CIA’s management of the program was inadequate and deeply flawed.
  • The CIA program was far more brutal than the CIA represented to policymakers and the American public.

But Rodriguez says the value of the program was clear and convincing. He says the program produced connective intelligence that led U.S. authorities to the key players in al-Qaida’s hierarchy. (Read the rest here.)

This story will burn in the eyes and hearts of the professionals and troops for a long time and we are sad that a person who was often referred to as “the adult in the room” full of her fellow Democrats, Diane Feinstein’s career will be remembered for an act much more infantile and petulant because of her own ego couched as an act of Patriotism.

She has reopened wounds and poured salt on them for what gain for America?

At SUA, we have a real hard time worrying about the way non-citizens who wanted to kill us all and Feinstein along with many in America have forgotten that in the months and years following 9/11/01, we had to act under a “clear and present danger” none of us could fully know or predict.

Hindsight is usually 20/20, but in this case, it reverted to a myopic, personal, and political lens in a tunnel.

She would feel bad if the report caused harm…Somehow that just does not cut it Senator.

———-

Editor’s Note – The article was adapted from an initial blog post after yesterdays events. We have adjusted it and added to it as events have unfurled. As time goes by, updates may be added as new information and responses develop. For more information, please click here to download a PDF from the Open Society Policy Center.

The 500 page report can be downloaded here. In addition, the video of the speech can be viewed here on CSPAN.

DOJ Produces Legal Rationale of CIA Killing al-Awlaki

Editor’s Note – The killing of Anwar al Awlaki  and another US citizen, Samir Kahn by the CIA has raised questions of the legality of our government assassinating one of its citizens because he was a known terrorist operative/leader in 2011. Two questions arose.

The first was the legality of making that order, the second was whether or not it was legal for the CIA to carry out the deed. A third issue arises as well – if it was legal in the United States, was it legal in the land it was carried out in; Yemen?Drone-kills-Awlaki

Naturally, constitutional and international legal and diplomatic questions arose and many asked the Obama Administration for its legal explanation for coming to the conclusions they did and then relied upon when carrying out the assassination.

Congress demanded the rationale from Obama’s Department of Justice and just recently, the second of two documents were released finally. The first was released last year on the legality of the killing itself, and now the second provides the rationale for the CIA carrying out the order. Vice News provides us with the details below and the document can be read from a copy of the original.

You be the judge:

A Justice Department Memo Provides the CIA’s Legal Justification to Kill a US Citizen

By Jason Leopold – Vice News

“This white paper sets forth the legal basis upon which the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could use lethal force in Yemen against a United States citizen who senior officials reasonably determined was a senior leader of al-Qaida or an associated force of al-Qaida.”

So begins a 22-page, heavily redacted, previously top-secret document titled “Legality of a Lethal Operation by the Central Intelligence Agency Against a US Citizen,” which provides the first detailed look at the legal rationale behind lethal operations conducted by the agency. The white paper [pdf below] was turned over to VICE News in response to a long-running Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department.

It’s one of two white papers the Justice Department prepared in 2011 after lawmakers demanded to know what the administration’s legal rationale was for targeting for death the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen. The first white paper, released last year, addressed why the targeted killing by the US military of an American abroad was lawful. This second white paper addresses why it was lawful for the CIA to do so. Neither white paper identifies Awlaki by name.

Anwar al-Awlaki, left, in a 2010 video, and Samir Khan, shown in North Carolina in 2008.
Anwar al-Awlaki, left, in a 2010 video, and Samir Khan, shown in North Carolina in 2008.

The May 25, 2011 document is based on a 41-page Justice Department memo that lays out the government’s legal basis for targeting Awlaki without affording him his right to due process under the US Constitution. For years, the Obama administration was pressured by lawmakers to share the memo, but officials refused — and wouldn’t even confirm that such a memo existed.

One of the most controversial legal arguments advanced in the white paper is the justification for civilians at the CIA engaging in hostilities abroad. The 1942 Supreme Court decision in Ex Parte Quirin, which is footnoted in the white paper, says that “by universal agreement and practice, the law of war draws a distinction… between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants.

“[A]n enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property” is an example of a belligerent who is an “offender against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by a military tribunal.”

‘They clearly realize they needed to come up with their independent justification of why [the CIA] has public authority to kill.’

Because CIA personnel are not part of the armed forces when they engage in hostilities, they are deemed to be unlawful combatants. The white paper acknowledges this, but argues that the CIA officers who are unlawful combatants are not war criminals as long as they comply with the laws of war.

The government is “very concerned with the status of the CIA,” said international law expert Kevin Jon Heller, a professor of criminal law at the School of Oriental and Criminal Studies at the University of London. “There’s absolutely no question that if any of these CIA agents involved in Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing ever went on vacation in Yemen or ever went on vacation in a state that has universal jurisdiction over war crimes, they could be arrested and prosecuted for murder. They certainly have committed murder under the laws of other states. Whether they have committed murder under American domestic law is another question.”

The white paper outlines five possible legal authorities that might prohibit the CIA from using lethal force against a US citizen abroad: three statutes (the foreign murder statute, conspiracy to murder an individual outside the US, and the War Crimes Act) and two constitutional provisions (the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees due process).

It relies on the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) and the relatively unknown legal doctrine known as the “public authority justification” to explain why the CIA’s actions are not unlawful, concluding that there is no law prohibiting the CIA from killing a US citizen in Yemen based on the facts of his particular case — redacted from the white paper — described by the CIA to the Justice Department.

Individuals typically use the public authority justification in criminal cases, arguing that the government authorized their actions. For example, a person wearing a wire for the FBI might be violating a state’s eavesdropping law. However, if the defendant successfully uses the public authority justification, he would not be found guilty even though he clearly violated the law. The white paper concedes that the public authority justification has rarely, if ever, been used to justify the government’s own acts.

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Heller says he agrees with the legal analysis of the public authority justification, but only as it pertains to the military’s lethal actions abroad — not the CIA’s.

According to the white paper: “Given the assessment that an analogous operation carried out pursuant to the AUMF would fall within the scope of the public-authority justification, there is no reason to reach a different conclusion for a CIA operation.”

homepage_targeted_assassinations_1Heller told VICE News this is the “sum total” the white paper says about the CIA’s public authority justification, and that the government falls short of making its case. Still, he says, the white paper is significant “as it indicates [the Justice Department] knew they had to talk about the CIA specifically, and knew they couldn’t just lump in the military and the CIA together.

“They clearly realize they needed to come up with their independent justification of why [the CIA] has public authority to kill,” Heller continued. “Unfortunately, the memo doesn’t really tell us anything because of the way it’s been redacted. If the question is, Where does the CIA get their authority to use lethal force abroad?, given that’s the necessary condition for them to avoid this foreign murder statute, this memo doesn’t tell us anything. It could be there. But if it is, it’s behind a redaction.”

Although the white paper says that the CIA expressed to the Justice Department that it preferred to capture “this target,” the agency assessed that a capture operation in Yemen “would not be feasible at this time.”

“The CIA has further represented that this sort of operation would not be undertaken in a perfidious or treacherous manner,” the white paper says.

A footnote states that the white paper “addresses exclusively the use of force abroad, in the circumstances described herein. It does not address legal issues that the use of force in different circumstances or in any nation other than Yemen might present.”

Still, the logic and legal rationale could be applied to the same types of lethal operations against Americans in other countries who the government may determine are part of al Qaeda or an “associated force” of the terrorist organization.

Patton – The Stark Truth behind the CIA’s ‘Colossal Flop’

By Kerry Patton – SOFREP

According to a dramatic December 8, 2013 article in the LA Times, the CIA’s anti-terrorism program was such a “colossal flop” that the critical program designed to place spies in positions to learn the most about terrorist networks is being cut.

The program runs outside normal CIA channels as do the agents. They are not the typical embassy employees or others sent abroad with diplomatic immunities to cover them. These people are the ones who lack official status: the “NOCs”, which stands for “non official cover.’ These are the real spies who risk imprisonment, torture and death if they are caught.CIA Collossal Flop

The article judges the entire NOC program and, though it reveals many problems that may make some NOCs less effective than they should be, several could have and should have been recognized when the program really took off after 9-11, and have been remedied simply by the passage of time.

For example, it takes at least five years for a person to learn a language such as Arabic or Farsi. It may take ten years or more for a NOC to insinuate himself into a terrorist group and even longer for someone to get access to planned terrorist attacks and figure out how to communicate – in the absence of emails and cell phones – their intelligence material to their CIA handlers. That there hasn’t been a massive success since 9-11 in places such as Iran should be a surprise to no one. And it is not a reason to cut the NOC program.

But one of the biggest problems wasn’t touched upon is the ongoing conflict inside the CIA between those in the field – the operators and handlers – and the bureaucrats who sit comfortably in their offices and risk nothing more than having to drink a latte at the wrong temperature.

The world of covert operators has almost disappeared because good people are driven from that service. More will continue to drop out as they become aware of the travails they face after their service. America’s best and brightest won’t make the personal sacrifices necessary to perform covert intelligence operations when they are afraid of becoming the one sacrificed to bureaucratic games and congressional nonsense after their service.

For many years, the CIA has undergone dramatic cultural shifts within.

Analysts far outnumber operators, as do contractors, academics and think tank “experts.” Where once stood a CIA “tribe” united in service to our nation, the CIA is now more like a cacophony of fiefdoms in constant rivalry.

The CIA’s sole purpose is to gather intelligence. Now, it’s purpose seems to be to feed the fiefdoms enough to keep them all actively in competition with each other. To revive an old concept the NOCs – the spies still out in the cold – are getting the short end of the stick. That is a fact that is now and will continue to damage our nation’s security.

It is not a well-known fact that non-official cover operatives are not always employees of the CIA. Not all NOCs are on the “official” CIA payroll.

These types of NOCs are actual “assets.” They may be referred to as “agents” depending upon the generation the person is from. (The terminology between “agents” and “assets” is really just a matter of semantics.)

Some of these “assets” or “agents” are officially employed by the US government while others are non-official. Beyond payroll aspects, “official” NOCs are identified, categorized, and filed under a unique system that is also traceable in the CIA Index—a database of all CIA human and business assets.

What happens when someone misplaces, accidently destroys, or simply never fills out appropriate documentation for operatives working on behalf of the CIA—serving as an actual NOC? This is the ultimate in plausible deniability.

Plausible deniability is the name of the game when it comes to the spy world. Files, if they are ever created, may leave absolutely zero proof of operational capacity. Of course, the CIA is not the only federal organization having issues with maintaining records.

It is a well-known fact that the Department of Defense has horrible record keeping skills. There are many cases of folks who left the military with an honorable discharge. Sometimes when they receive their Form DD 214, though, half of their career is omitted. More often than not this is caused by human error, but there are times when this is done intentionally—especially for those who work for DOD and are tasked to perform key missions in the clandestine or covert world. Operators for Intelligence Support Activity (ISA), DEVGRU, or CAG are some examples of this.

So how do people maintain their credibility if they have no verification to support their claims? There is only one way for a CIA operative to protect himself from future political lynching. I was told once by a very smart man who supervised me while I served on active duty to, “always maintain a copy of everything you do or receive.” Illegal? Maybe. Improper? Pretty likely. Necessary to survive an attack on your credibility? Absolutely.

Maintaining a copy of everything you do or receive is a lot more difficult than some might imagine—especially for those who toil in the bowels of the covert world.

The clandestine world demands a very secretive and often lonely lifestyle. No one ever knows the truth. This includes an operative’s family. The operator himself may not know the complete truth. The spouse may never know what an operator has done for the government or the secret life he/she has been hiding all for years.

With unprecedented rifts that sometimes occur inside the CIA and the Intelligence Community, how does an operator protect him/herself when attacked by other disgruntled former employees or retirees who want to remain relevant?

Due to current laws, the US Intelligence Community requires total secrecy of its employees even after an employee leaves or retires. Handlers, as they are referred to, are not authorized to be publicly revealed. Methods of payments and paymasters cannot be exposed. Specific forms of identification through the numerical system cannot be revealed. The list goes on and on, and in truth, there is no possible way for many of these assets/agents to counter any form of “stolen valor” accusation when confronted.

Verifying military service and records is easy. Verifying intelligence service is complex and sometimes impossible. We owe it to our assets – agents, NOCs and the rest – to require those who would reveal them, rake them over the coals in newspapers or pillory them in congressional hearings to understand the burdens the intelligence people carry with them throughout their lives.

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Kerry Patton is author of several military/spy thrillers which can be found at his Amazon Author Page.